Ben Barka Affair (The) Affaire Ben Barka (L’)

Mehdi Ben Barka was intercepted by policemen on a Paris street October 29, 1965, driven away in a police vehicle and never seen again. Moroccan officials were long suspected of engineering the operation, though none was ever punished for the crime. French officials were suspected of complicity in the abduction, while recent revelations by a retired Moroccan police agent suggest that agents of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency were at the very least intimately aware of the plot as it was being prepared and carried out. The mystery surrounding the fate of Ben Barka, a major figure in Moroccan politics and in the Third World movement internationally, continues to loom large in Morocco. Important actors in civil society are demanding truth and accountability with respect to the savage repression practiced by the government against dissidents during the 1960s and 1970s.

Le 29 octobre 1965, Medhi Ben Barka, chef de file de l’opposition de gauche au Roi du Maroc Hassan II, est intercepté par des policiers devant la Brasserie Lipp à Paris. Il doit présider la prochaine Conférence Tricontinentale des mouvements de libération d’Amérique du Sud, d’Asie et d’Afrique, à la Havane. Les policiers l’interpellent, discutent en aparté, puis l’étudiant marocain qui l’accompagne voit Ben Barka monter de son plein gré dans la voiture des policiers qui s’éloigne. Plus jamais on ne reverra publiquement Ben Barka vivant. Trois jours plus tard, la presse annonce l’enlèvement et la disparition du leader marocain. L’un des plus grands scandales de la Ve République a commencé.

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